Famous Fat People

by : Janet Martin

During the final years of his life, Rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley was battling obesity that affected his live performances. Richard Bevan said in "The Biography Channel" that as Elvis' weight increased, his shows suffered. At times he would babble incoherently on stage and rip his pants due to obesity. At a sold-out concert, Elvis told a bemused audience that he had ripped his jumpsuit and would have to find a replacement before resuming the show. He died of a heart attack at 42.

Two-time Academy Award winning actor Marlon Brando also suffered from obesity that attracted more attention than his Hollywood career. Anecdotage.com said his weight ballooned during the production of "One-Eyed Jacks" that his costume had to be made with an elastic material. Still, his massive weight split 18 pairs of pants.

Here's an odd one: Dr. Stuart Berger, author of many diet and health books, apparently didn't follow his own advice. At his death at age 40, he weighed 365 pounds!

Still from Anecdotage.com: Charlie's Angels' star Drew Barrymore was dining in a classy restaurant when a woman approached her and said, "If you were a little fatter, you'd look just like Drew Barrymore!" From that time on, she knew she had a weight problem.

Cheers star Kirstie Alley made fun of her obesity with her TV series "Fat Actress" that showed how society deals with overweight people. Prior to that, she drank 14 grape sodas every day and felt depressed and convinced she was a loser. Fortunately, she realized that her problems also made good material for a new TV series. Since then, she has lost weight and is looking better than ever.

Not all fat people, however, end up living happily like Kirstie. Carol Yager who died at the age of 34 weighing 1,200 pounds, wasn't able to stand or walk because of her weight. She was frequently hospitalized due to many health problems brought about by her obesity and she often required the assistance of 15 to 20 firefighters to lift her to the ambulance.

Jon Brower Minnoch was 200 pounds lighter than Yager who suffered from obesity since he was a child. An endocrinologist estimated that over 900 pounds of his body mass was retained fluid. When admitted to the hospital, Minnoch was placed on two beds placed together and it took 13 people to change his linen. He died at age 42.

These people show that obesity is a problem that can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or social status. And the problem is growing. At last count, there are over 64 million adult Americans who are obese and thousands of deaths have been associated with this condition.

"The world has become a fat place. The World Health Organization has declared obesity as the third of the great epidemics facing the world in the new millennium, along with HIV and tuberculosis. On a world scale, food is the addiction," according to Dr. George Alexander Felding, associate professor of surgery at New York University School of Medicine.

"Until recently, the medical profession has failed obese people. Many doctors still believe obesity is simply a matter of will power. As long ago as the 1970s, studies showed that doctors felt fat people deserved everything they got. Others showed perceptions of fat people as being weak and less intelligent than thin people. Many studies have confirmed that fat people fare less well in interviews than equally qualified thin people; that they are promoted less frequently; and, are less likely to be made leaders," added Felding.

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